Four Wall Street banks, which received $15-25 billion each from the taxpayers, have rejected California’s IOUs because the State is supposedly a bad credit risk. The bailed out banks would seem to have a duty to lend a helping hand, but they say they don’t want to delay an agreement on further austerity measures. State legislators are not bowing quickly to the pressure, but what is the alternative?
In the latest twist to the California budget saga, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase (which each got $25 billion in bailout money from the taxpayers) and Bank of America (which got $15 billion) have refused California’s request for a loan to tide it over until October. Until the State can get things sorted out, it has started paying its creditors in IOUs (“I Owe You’s” or promises to pay bearing interest, technically called registered warrants). Its Wall Street creditors, however, have refused to take them. Why? The pot says the kettle is a poor credit risk!
This moment, in which the Attorney General of the United States claims to be considering the possibility of allowing our laws against torture to be enforced seems a good one in which to reveal that I have seen over 1,200 torture photos and a dozen videos that are in the possession of the United States military. These are photographs depicting torture, the victims of torture, and other inhuman and degrading treatment. Several videos show a prisoner intentionally slamming his head face-first very hard into a metal door. Guards filmed this from several angles rather than stopping it.
The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) of Australia revealed several of these photographs, video of the head slamming, and video of prisoners forced to masturbate, as part of a news report broadcast in 2006. But the full collection has not been made available to the public or to a special prosecutor, although it was shown to members of Congress in 2004. When these photos are eventually made public, I encourage you to take a good look at them. After you get over feeling ill, it might be appropriate to consider Congress’ past 5 years of inaction. You’ll be able to feel sick all over again.
Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will ask Judge Sonia Sotomayor questions this week and has said he will ask about network neutrality.
As the Daily Show once explained, “network neutrality” is a proposed law that would forbid phone and cable companies from interfering with your Internet access. These companies have announced a desire to cut special deals with Web sites, to slow some down, speed some up, and just block others. On wireless platforms, the carriers already limit Internet access, for example, by not permitting you to use Skype on the mobile Internet.
In an important article for Newsweek, “Independent’s Day,” Daniel Klaidman manages not only to present a convincingly intimate and sympathetic first-hand portrait of Eric Holder, the first African-American Attorney General in US history, demonstrating how “[h]is first instinct is to shy away from confrontation, to search for common ground,” and how he remains haunted by his role in the pardon of Marc Rich at the end of the Clinton administration, but also to explain how “[f]our knowledgeable sources” told him that Holder is “leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do.”
As Klaidman notes, “Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama’s domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. ‘I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda,’ he says. ‘But that can’t be a part of my decision.’”
Congress was taken for a ride, and the American people’s wealth went with it.
So now you have a system of checks and balances. The Treasury writes all the checks, and Congress doesn’t know what the balance is.
Trillions of dollars are being taken both from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, which is printing money, which you, the American taxpayer, have to back up.
We need to begin to have a serious discussion of monetary reform because what’s been allowed to happen is that banks have been permitted to create money out of nothing, and they have not held sufficient reserves against their investments that could go sour. This caused the collapse of a financial system that’s being shored up with U.S. tax dollars and with trillions of dollars printed by the Fed as backup.
Max Blumenthal and Jesse Rosenfeld interview young Tel Aviv residents about Iran, Obama and right-wing laws limiting the speech rights of their Palestinian-Israeli neighbors. The shocking responses reflect the deepening of racist and authoritarian trends in Israeli society. This is the sequel to “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem,” the video banned by YouTube, Vimeo and the Huffington Post after topping 400,000 hits.
by Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina coordinator
July 12, 2009, 2:45 am
The 100 Viva Palestina humanitarian volunteers have decided to stay the night in their buses at the Mubarak Peace Bridge over the Suez Canal despite pressure from the Egyptian security officials to return to Cairo.
The official reason given at the checkpoint for refusing to allow them to cross is that the officials there did not have a list of the names of the members of the convoy. Such a list was, however, at the request of the Egyptian authorities before any of the convoy members set foot in Egypt sent to the Egyptian ambassadors to Washington, D.C., and London.
by Darren Pedigo
Guest Writer Dandelion Salad
The Red Star Journal
July 13, 2009
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“Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ – who I think was the first socialist – only socialism can really create a genuine society.” – Hugo Chavez
Personally, I don’t think Jesus ever existed. I do not say this to hurt my Comrades of the Christian, Muslim, or Messianic Jewish faiths, but rather because I just haven’t seen enough evidence. Continue reading →